The Houston Rockets are journeying through a tough offseason that has seen their internal issues take center stage. The chatter has guided toward former league MVP James Harden joining Russell Westbrook in his desire for a trade. However, the reasoning behind that decision may be deeper than it looks, with Donald Trump potentially playing a factor.
James Harden requests a trade from the Rockets
Things continue to take a discouraging turn for the Houston Rockets this offseason that has put a cloud over the franchise.
The situation has progressed into a more concerning manner, with former league MVP James Harden voicing his desire for a trade. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the 31-year-old has pinpointed the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers as his two preferred trade landing spots.
The Rockets hold the desire to retain their star guard, but there is a building sense that he has moved past the point of staying with the franchise. His first seven years with the team have seen them continue to fall well short of an NBA title in the playoffs.
Houston’s doubts about the situation have become more prominent the longer things drag out into a potential ultimatum stance. With all that in mind, there may be an underlying storyline involving Donald Trump that is driving things south.
James Harden may be irked by Tilman Fertitta’s support for Donald Trump
The chatter around the Houston Rockets has remained primarily on James Harden’s future.
The conversation has shifted further toward Harden holding a strong desire for a trade to the Nets. However, another contributing factor to the situation possibly concerns team owner Tilman Fertitta’s interests away from basketball.
During a recent episode of Bucher & Friends Podcast, Bleacher Reports’ Ric Bucher voiced that Harden and Russell Westbrook may want out of Houston due to Fertitta’s political support of Donald Trump. The longtime NBA insider voiced that many players may be turned off by that and want to leave the franchise.
“For the most part, Fertitta is a staunch Republican and staunch Trump supporter. Add that to the equation of where the players’ mindset was in the bubble and coming out of the bubble, living in Texas, which is still red but moving ever more blue, I’m told that that was the influence and has other players feeling the same as Harden and Westbrook,” Bucher said.
If that is the case, it brings much more clarity to Harden reportedly turning down a two-year extension that would have paid him $50 million a year. Much of the NBA community had some significant push back toward the soon-to-be-former president’s bashing of the league in the Orlando Bubble.
Harden has since disputed the reports of turning down that massive deal via social media. Still, it’s hard to ignore this being a potential huge contributing reason for how things are unfolding.
Uncertain future ahead
Beyond this potential new aspect to the situation, the circumstances are quite evident with the franchise: Change is needed.
The Rockets are heading through an offseason that has seen their internal issues become public knowledge. Longtime general manager Daryl Morey stepped down, and head coach Mike D’Antoni declined his contract’s final year.
With their two former league MVPs making trade demands, the team is moving toward massive change ahead of next season. The Rockets certainly have the option of keeping their star players in the fold, but it’s only delaying the inevitable.
Houston needs an overhaul, and that will have to start with a rebuild finding a new face to the franchise.